Lauren Muscato, daughter of Joe and Leanna (Knoebel) Muscato recently published her first children’s story. Muscato is a 2006 graduate of Danville High School and later went on to pursue a degree in Television, Radio & Film from Syracuse University. In Roaring Creek Rescue, How Kozmo Met Dexter Muscato returns to her roots and takes her inspiration from Knoebels Amusement Park.
The story is centered on a real event in park history – Tropical Storm Lee caused Roaring Creek to overflow its banks by over 5 feet flooding the park. Benches and ride cars were carried downstream by the flood waters and the park was littered with mud, debris and damaged attractions. But, according to Muscato “Knoebels has incredible resiliency”.
“Through every flood, there has never been a question of whether or not the park will recover,” she said. “Our staff has been extremely positive, dedicated, loyal and supportive of my family in those difficult times.”
In fact Muscato dedicates her story to the staff of 2011 who worked long hours to clean and repair attractions; the park was able to reopen quickly, losing only 2 normal operating days.
Using this real-life scenario as a backdrop, Muscato tells the story of how Knoebels mascot Kozmo met Dexter, a secondary mascot who was introduced in the park in 2012. “The flood was so devastating that it was nice to be able to take back the narrative of this heartbreaking event and give it a positive twist,” Muscato explained.
Muscato initially wrote a shorter version of the story and shared it on the Knoebels web site and Facebook page. Response was so good that she decided to take the story to the next level. She recruited local illustrator, Michael Tobin, for the task.
Tobin, creative director at AdOne Advertising and Design in Sunbury, originally sketched in 1988 the mischievous chipmunk Kozmo who eventually became the heart and soul of Knoebels. Tobin has been lending his artistic talents to Knoebels illustrated literature ever since. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with Mike, since he designed the characters of Kozmo and Dexter,” Muscato stated. “He knows them so personally, all their little quirks and how to bring their personalities to life on the page.”
The novel is also the first published storybook for Tobin. “For years I have had the privilege of illustrating Kozmo and Dexter in Knoebels ads, brochures and billboards,” said Tobin. “I am thrilled to see the critters’ roles expanded in a children’s book. Kozmo and Dexter already have a good rapport with young and old alike and placing them into a story is a natural fit. Perhaps more adventures lay ahead!”
Roaring Creek Rescue is available for purchase at various locations throughout Knoebels Amusement Park. Muscato and Tobin plan to team up a second time for the 2015 release of Estelle and Rupert Take Flight, a modern twist on the legend of the Tooth Fairy.